ISLAMABAD: A government bill regarding the appointment of the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) from the Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service (PA&AS) has stopped by the finance secretary due to some reasons.
The amendment bill is lying on the table of the secretary and it has not been present in the last two meetings of the National Assembly. The Senate had passed the Auditor General’s (Functions, Powers and Terms and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2001 with few amendments on January 22, 2018 and afterwards the bill sent to the National Assembly for approval.
State Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Division Rana Muhammad Afzal has to lay down the bill in the National Assembly but officials said that the secretary suggested the state minister to consult with high ups on this matter.
“He (secretary) reportedly ask the state minister to further consult with high ups of the government including Special Assistant on Law Barrister Zafarullah Khan on this matter but Rana Afzal categorically told that he will not allow anyone to interfere in his matters,” they said.
One senior official of the Pakistan Audit and Accounts PA&AS said that this bill was important for them because their PA&AS wants that AGP should be from the PA&AS. “We know each and everything of audit and accounts that’s why this seat should be from within the PA&AS,” he said.
The proposed amendment also endorse the stance that AGP should be from the relevant group. The proposed bill available with Pakistan Today indicates that a new clause has been inserted namely – 3A. Qualification. – No person shall be appointed as the Auditor General of Pakistan unless he has been a BS-22 officer of the Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service and served at least 15 years of his service in the department of the Auditor General of Pakistan – provided that the deputation period of service of such officer shall not be counted as his service in the department.
The officer claims that the former finance minister with the assistance of one particular group of DMG tried to appoint Arif Bajwa the AGP but it had not been possible due to stiff resistance from the Audit and Accounts Service.
He said that the EAD secretary did not take the side of the PA&AS. Instead of commenting on this issue, he also holds the file and then he was transferred to EAD as the secretary. Documents show that the AGP can also conduct the forensic and performance audit.
The finance secretary was not available for comments while finance adviser avoids answers of the question. “The (finance) secretary is travelling. Someone from the ministry can probably respond to you on Monday,” he said.